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Apple Notes

Find out why Apple Notes is THE BEST Note-Taking App in 2021!

I will show you how Apple Notes is better than GoodNotes 5, Notability, Noteshelf, AND why the iPad and Apple Pencil are better than the new remarkable 2!

Most of us take daily notes.

 We jot down notes, tasks, and reminders throughout the day.

The process of writing these notes helps us to cement these thoughts in our minds.

It is easier to remember the things that we write down, you can then visualize the information, the piece of paper you wrote it on… you may even remember the doodle you did in the margin.

The difficulty is retrieving these notes when you need them.

How easy is it to find that Post-it note, the right page in the right notebook, or page in your journal, the scrap of paper that you were sure you put in your in-tray?

I was looking for something that could replace my iPad because I didn’t want to waste precious time opening up my iPad then going to the note-taking app to retrieve my notes.

So what is the solution?

I started looking for an alternative. I knew I didn’t want to go back to using paper, but what was the alternative?

I bought a cheap tablet alternative. It costs about $10, it has a pen, you write on it and a tap of the button, and it deletes everything. Using this, I was able to replace my Post-its without wasting paper. I kept it on my desk, so I could take a note so I shouldn’t forget. But I just wasn’t using it as naturally as paper.

Will Rocketbook boost notes to another level?

Next, I tried the Rocketbook. Using this, I had that in-my-face feeling back, and I had the best intentions to wipe it clean every day and use it again. But I’ll be honest with you. I never wiped it clean. I used a new page, was going through this taking notes just like my old notebooks. Nothing had changed!

Will reMarkable get top marks?

Fast forward to 2021, and I was still looking! I’d heard great things about ReMarkable, so I bought one to test. I used it to plan for my upcoming Coda online course for my Inner Circle members. My first impressions were great.  This was precisely what I was looking for!  All you need to do is switch it on, straight to your last notes and start writing!  No notifications popping up to distract. The battery lasts for more than a week. And it really feels like a piece of paper. I absolutely understand why people are so into reMarkable and why they love it! But there is a big catch. The operating system! I can only send these notes to my other devices by email. I can only access the files via the app on my desktop.  This feels so disconnected; there is too much friction.

How can I connect the dots?

If you are one of my Inner Circle or Paperless Movement members, you will know that I talk about connecting the dots. My ICORtm Framework (ICOR stands for Input, Control, Output, Refine) helps you create a bespoke end-to-end digital productivity system. The very first step in creating your ICOR Framework is INPUT – Where you write digital notes, have an easy way to quickly find these notes, and actually leverage your notes to get things done.

It’s all in the settings!

The beauty of reMarkable is the quick and easy access directly to my notes. This is what I wanted from my iPad. It was this realisation of my needs that the penny dropped. Just a few tweaks in the settings and everything I wanted from paper-based notes and devices like reMarkable could be replicated in Apple Notes. 

Follow these quick steps in Apple Notes settings, and you can have daily notes, one day at a time, appearing in one touch on your iPad and replicated on all your Apple devices.

You can access notes straight from the lock screen

With a tap from your Apple Pencil, you will go straight to your Apple Notes… This includes the notes viewed on your iPhone! It’s simple, just three steps to set up:

  • Click SETTINGS

Create a daily note!

You can automate the creation of a new note to be produced after 5minutes, 15 minutes, one hour, or after a day. This is perfect if you want to have a new page daily for you to take digital notes. Just click on the screen each day, and you are taken straight to your notes for that day – It even syncs between Apple Devices! 

  • Click SETTINGS

This is something we cannot do with GoodNotes, Notability, Noteshelf. We have to have to unlock, open the app and then find the note. Too much friction! With Apple Notes, I didn’t have to unlock anything!


Convert your writing into text!

You may be wondering, Why Apple Notes?  Notability, GoodNotes, Noteshelf have excellent text conversion properties. In none of the paid note-taking apps, you will find this way of selecting text.

  • Take your finger
  • Select
  • Copy this as text 
  •  Open the app you want to paste the text.
  • Go wherever you want
  • Paste the text – done!

What’s the catch?

Zoom is not available in Apple Notes (yet!).  This has an impact on some things you may want to do in your note, sketch notes for example.

But… You can go into Procreate on your iPad to draw.  Because of this, I will not need the reMarkable that costs me around €500, and you can get an iPad Air 2020 with an Apple Pencil for about the same price. Think about this. You can do so much more with the iPad and the iPad OS system, especially if you’re already using an iPhone or a MacBook.

What about PDFs in Apple Notes?

You can now import PDFs into Apple Notes!  And the functionality is great!  If you have a Digital Journal, you probably imported the PDF into a note-taking app. Now you can do this with Apple Notes for free! Links around the journal work seamlessly. It is AWESOME!

I have tested this with my DJD in Apple Notes. The links that allow you to jump from different views, days, weeks, projects, etc., work seamlessly. It is AWESOME! And there is so much scope to develop this – think about the difference adding Siri to your note-taking mix will make!

Check out my Digital Journal here!


But what if you love the feel of pen and paper?

We need the feeling of friction to replicate the feel of pen and paper, and ReMarkable really nailed this! But there is a solution; the Paperlike screen protector. I recommend that this is fantastic on your iPad, and it just feels like paper. Find out more about Paperlike in my detailed Review here.

BEFORE YOU BUY! As an Inner Circle member, you’ll get 20% OFF Paperlike! Join us here.

Want to take your note-taking to the next level?

We have just scratched the surface, looking at a specific use case in this blog.

It is always up to you and your personal needs to decide what app will best serve you. But the big question is, HOW do you process your notes after this?

If you want to learn more about this, or perhaps you want to find out how your notes can form an integral part of your end-to-end digital productivity system, make sure that you join my Inner Circle membership.

In there, you not only will get loads of resources understanding how your end-to-end productivity system should be set up, but you will also join a big community of like-minded people who struggle with the same challenges.

Review 2020

„Hi, everyone. I’m Tom Solid and I welcome you back to the PaperlessMovement YouTube channel. Today, I will talk about something I just realized. I think this is huge. Not only will we be able to finally add our sticky notes to our iPhone in form of a widget, no, I think there’s more behind this. Why this is, stay tuned until the end of the video where we talk about this but first of all, I will show you how now everything works together when you’re using Apple Notes.

You might know this already, if you have an iPad Pro, I think it’s working with a normal iPad as well. All you have to do is use your Apple Pencil. It is in standby mode right now. Tap onto the screen, it will just open up a new note in Apple Notes for you. You can just start writing. I’m here on iPadOS 14 open beta. What we have here, as you see, it’s on the side and what it does actually, it directly transcribes sticky notes into the title of this note. That’s something I really like already. I can keep writing like this, but it will just stay with a title like this.

The great thing is, even if I wrote down below something and I add something here on top line like a two, it will add it to the title as well. This means I can write whatever I want below, but if we keep the first line as my title, that’s really nice. Let’s just delete these two I added here, and you will see it goes back. Why am I so excited now about this? Well, you can now go into your start screen of your iPad. I have two widgets here on the side. What I can do, I can now add that widget for my notes here as well. You see the sticky notes is coming up.

This is the first thing that if I have something in mind, I can just quickly tap onto the iPad to write it down. No app to open, nothing, it will just add it into my notes. That’s something we had already but now, it’s in my face because we have the widget section here now all the time. What makes it now even better is using your iPhone for this because you can use Apple notes on your iPhone, on your MacBook, so you will have access to all your notes all the time. With the new widgets on iOS 14, you can now add these widgets too.

All I have to do is just tap and press and hold, and it starts wobbling and you can just go on top left, there’s a plus button where you can add the new widgets. Here’s the Notes widget. Just tap onto this Notes widget and then you have different options to choose from, either you want to show a particular Note or a folder. I choose here the Notes folder and here we are, it’s already there, I just tap on this, here’s the sticky note, I can open it. It’s here.

If I write something into the title that I need to be reminded of, it can be here in front of this. If I press and hold again and try to add another sticky note like the white one, then this way, I can even write longer titles and I would see it. I even see a preview thumbnail here to remind people that it’s off. I just simply have to tap on this, I’m inside the note. When I edit more information of this note, I’m directly there. I could make some reminders or things like this where I just have to tap here, and I’m directly inside my note. I think that’s awesome.

That’s now what I really was waiting for because swiping over to the widget was fine. However, having it in my face as soon I open up the iPhone, that’s even better. The thing is now, I can add text here now as well, just press and hold. You can start writing, it will make a section where you can write it. Done, it’s done. I can tap on this again, I can add a table, I connect and add a picture. That’s really a living document where you can brainstorm, bring everything in there, really quickly access your notes, your thoughts.

I wouldn’t do a long list of different notes. There’s not much of an organization system going on in iPad notes, but to have a focus list or something you really want to be reminded of, things like this, that’s really useful. Why do I think there’s an option for an Apple Pencil or like a small pad and a stylus? I really waiting for this, especially if you have the max version of the iPhone, it would be just awesome to use the stylus on the iPhone. If you go down here, you also have this section, this depends. Why is it there? You can write with your finger like this, but that’s not very convenient.

There are a lot of options of styluses that you can use on your iPhone too. That’s one that I’m testing right now, which is the Adonit Snap 2 that you actually can apply to the back of your iPhone. It has a magnet and you will put it on there. It will stay there with you. It is flat. You can use it whenever you want. You even can do pictures with it. I’m just reviewing this and let’s see if this works out.

There are already styluses really made for the iPhone already. I put the link into the description below. If you’re interested in this stylus, check it out. I think that’s just awesome because now, I can work on my note wherever I want. If you think about the rumors going on that maybe the MacBooks become also touch-sensitive, maybe in the end, we are really able to use the Apple Pencil on all of our devices. One more thing before you go away. If you go back to the notes, we see already, it updates. That’s already nice. I just added it here in the iPhone and it just updated it here as well.

However, the thing is there’s even more because now, you can just go to the three dots here, you can pin your note. You see it on the side, it’s pinned, and that’s the awesome thing, you can add people to the note. I could send an invite to somebody else using Apple Notes and we could work together in this note. That’s something, my friends, neither GoodNotes, Notability, Noteshelf, you name it, are able to offer you right now and note-taking it where you can scribble along together with a friend using the Apple Pencil. Look at Google, you have some options there, but that’s all not the quality you have there.

Even with using the pencil, you have the shading in here. You have the shading. That’s not available in the other apps either. There’s really a great integration. What they also added now in iPadOS 14 is that you can now use the Scribble feature inside your notes. Just go down there and start writing and you see it’s already transcribing. However, they are just starting with the feature and they will do machine learning where the handwriting becomes better and better over time the more people will use it. They included it into their app already. This is something that’s not available on the iPhone.

That might be also informed that it won’t come to the iPhone that you can use the stylus this way, but I think it would be awesome. What about you? Do you want to have a stylus on your iPhone? Do you think that’s a good idea or a bad idea? Let us know in the comments below. Give this video a thumbs up if you liked it. If you give it a thumbs down, let me know why you give it a thumbs down. That would be really appreciated so I can improve my videos over time. If you haven’t already subscribed to this channel, you can stay tuned about the latest releases regarding digital note-taking productivity apps and so much more to come. I’ll see you next time.“

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